Regrets - Livin' the Good Life
Jun. 9th, 2012
12:27 pm - Regrets
Our high school class is having a reunion this summer, and though I will not be attending, the prospect gives me pause to reflect on my high school experience. It was mostly good. I learned a lot and did well academically. I had some top notch teachers and some loyal friends. One of my English teachers set me on a track of lifelong writing, for which I am forever grateful. In general, I was treated well by my classmates. The worst treatment I received was indifference. I found my group of friends, and stayed securely in their social safety net. It was a comfortable life.
But, for others... well, they were not so lucky.
I received a group email from a former classmate who I hadn't heard about in all these years. He said we probably wouldn't remember him. He told us about his life up until now, and it sounded slightly depressing, but he had been somewhat successful, and he wanted us to know that. I experienced a flood of shame and regret when I read his email, because he had been BULLIED and PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY TORTURED thoughout junior high and high school. I'd always felt horrible about it. I wished I could stop it, but I felt unable to do anything to help. I guess I was a coward. I probably thought I didn't have enough social influence to make a difference. Whatever the reason, I still to this day, feel bad about it. So, when he reached out to our class in that email, I felt compelled to write back. Here's what I wrote:
I remember you well, and, I must confess, with some shame. I want to publicly apologize to you for the ongoing bullying and harrassment that you suffered at the hands of the class of '67. And though I was not directly involved, I stood silently by. For that, I am truly embarrassed. I am so, SO sorry, my friend. I hope you have come to forgive us our immaturity. I'm sure that, as a whole, we are a much nicer people now."
Bullying and torturing others is just NOT OK. And I wish there was a way to "nip it in the bud" in the school setting, where it is so prevelant. My adult children tell me that things had not changed during their stints in school.
Lord, we need serious intervention.